EC turns attention back to region after win over Lovejoy
Maybe East Coweta’s baseball team just wasn’t ready to come back from spring break, or maybe the Indians were looking ahead a bit to next week’s important three-game Region 3-AAAAAA series against rival Newnan.
Either way, it took an upset-minded Lovejoy team to finally break them out of a haze in a 14-5 victory.
The Wildcats stayed within a run of East Coweta (15-5) before the Indians took control in the bottom of the sixth inning with eight unearned runs to pull away.
The Indians sent 12 bat- ters to the plate in the inning while taking advantage of five Lovejoy errors en route to the team’s 11th straight win heading into next week’s pivotal Region 3-AAAAAA series with rival Newnan, whch starts at home on Tues?day in the first of three region games.
The series switches back to Newnan on Thursday and concludes on Friday back at East Coweta.
“It’s going to be a huge series,” DeLoach said. “We all know each other. They all play with each other in the summertime, and it’s a big rivalry, but more than being just East Coweta and Newnan, it’s a big region series.”
Clinging to a 6-5 lead against the Wildcats (10-7) on Thursday, the Indians broke through on a two-run error at the plate that saw East Coweta senior Bryce Gemmel barrel through on a collision that injured Lovejoy’s catcher while also allowing senior teammate Matthew Meyer to come in behind him.
“I think when the young man got hurt behind plate, that kind of shook them up a little bit,” East Coweta head coach Franklin DeLoach said. “Lovejoy is a pretty good ball club, and it was a good game until the sixth. This is good for us. We needed a little bit of challenge. Win or lose, we got to play a really good opponent.”
East Coweta managed just one hit in the explosive sixth inning, but it was big, as Devonte Brown cleared the bases with a three-run triple.
The Indians used six pitch- ers with Tuesday’s projected starter Austin Bellamy get- ting the win after throwing 17 pitches — 15 of which were strikes — through his two innings with a strikeout.
The half-dozen East Coweta pitchers combined for seven strikeouts, including two from Graden Treadwell while allowing a run off two hits in an inning of work. After Mason Meyer threw a scoreless fourth, Tyler Exley fanned four in just 1 2⁄3 innings, but was hit hard by the Wildcats.
Lovejoy scored four of its five runs against Exley on six hits before Thomas Leone and A.J. Summers silenced the Wildcats over the final 1 2⁄3 innings.
Using more than a handful of pitchers was as much in East Coweta’s pregame plans.
“(Assistant ) coach (Mark) Bowles and I talked about it before the game,” he said. “That’s what he wanted to do, and I was fine with that. We have some big games coming up and we wanted to give our guys some work.”
Lovejoy out hit East Coweta 9-8 in the game, but the Indians finished with three for extra bases. Leadoff hitter Cam Smith posted at least his third triple of the season that scored a run in the bottom of the fourth.
Stephan Cruver added an RBI double in the sixth.
Smith, Cruver and Cary Holloway each led the Indians with two hits apiece.
The Indians jumped on top of the Wildcats in the bottom of the first inning when Smith reached after the Lovejoy catcher dropped the third strike.
Back-to-back base hits by Nick Pippin and Matthew Meyer, the latter on an RBI single, gave the Indians a 1-0 lead in the first.
It blossomed to 4-1 after Smith’s RBI triple, only to see Lovejoy close within a run in the top of the fifth with a two-out rally.
Exley started the inning with back-to-back strikeouts from the eighth and ninth men in Wildcats’ order but D’Ante Matthews and Jose Martinez each singled before Danyale Brimmer drove in both runs with his base hit.
East Coweta jumped back ahead 6-3 on Cruver’s RBI double and a Lovejoy error.
The Wildcats pulled again within a run for a final time when Christen Dixon and Jamel Campbell each singled and scored.
INDIANS 13, WIlDCATS 5
LOVEJOY 001 022 0—5 9 6 ECHS 120 128 x—1 4 0
WP — Austin Bellamy
LP — Chris Munoz